12 Skills From the Good Ole Days That Are Utterly Useless Today (Mostly)

Do you have any useless skills from back in the day? Of course, you do! That’s part of humanity’s evolution. After someone asked an online forum for examples of said skills, these are the most discussed.

1. Memorizing Phone Numbers

retro woman rotary phone
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To this day, I remember my landline number growing up. However, it’s rare to need to remember phone numbers when your smartphone will do it for you. A millennial in the thread made me laugh at loud with their confession, “I don’t know my wife’s phone number. I only know mine and JG Wentworth’s.”

2. Memorizing Television Channels

retro TV
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Memorizing the TV channels so you knew what to look for on the TV Guide channel was a skill the forum agreed is no longer relevant. One user adds, “Related skill: flipping rapidly between two cartoons in the same time slot on Saturday morning. One is the ‘main,’ and the other you try to glimpse what you can during the commercial breaks of the former.”

3. T9 Texting

Nokia cell phone
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T9 texting was the bee’s knees. As a server, I could text all day with my hand in my apron without looking at my phone. Why doesn’t that talent translate to something? I wasn’t alone in believing it was a much quicker form of text messaging than fumbling around with fat fingers on a touchscreen iPhone.

4. Making Mixed Cassette Tapes

mixed tape
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One of my all-time favorite past times was making mixed cassette tapes. I’d pop my tape in to record all night. Then, in the morning, I’d peep what I’d recorded while getting ready for school. A thread contributor points out that you would sit with your “Finger on the pause button and pray hard that the DJ doesn’t talk over the music at the end.”

5. Burning CDs

Burning CDs
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Alternatively, do you remember the days of Napster and burning CDs? Or did you kill your dad’s computer with Limewire instead? No? Just me? Yeah, he was not happy. As an avid music fan with eclectic taste, I loved the technology of creating your own playlists. My mother loved it, too, as it meant reliving the ’70s with hits from the Bee Gees and Queen.

6. Driving a Manual

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My father taught me to drive and insisted that I learn on a manual transmission. He said if you can drive a stick shift, you can drive anything. While America appears to be phasing it out, a European assures us it’s still instrumental in Europe.

7. Cursive Writing

cursive writing
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I’ve heard that they have done away with teaching cursive writing in schools. However, after a quick Google search, only 21 of the fifty nifty states require cursive in the curriculum. I remember learning it, but I’ve never used it outside of school, except for my signature, of course.

8. Using an Encyclopedia and Dictionary

smart boy research encyclopedia
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Do you remember the good ole days of using an encyclopedia and dictionary when writing papers? Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find those being used in a home. However, there are online alternatives now. Nonetheless, I still remember the smell of my dad’s old encyclopedia set. Good times.

9. The Simpsons Synopsis

Image Credit: 20th Television

OK. This one might not be a skill so much as a 90s truth for many Millennials. One user confesses they could “tell you the synopsis of any of The Simpsons’ episodes by watching a few seconds. Sometimes a still frame will do.” YES! Me too! Like most fans, I stopped watching long ago. But that first decade was the best. 

10. Blowing on Video Game Cartridges

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The original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was my jam. It still is. Once a year, my sister and I get together for a Bubble Bobble marathon.

However, now we play it as a digital download on my PlayStation 4. So no need to blow the cartridges. Although, I think the more considerable skill was being able to press the game down perfectly for it to load the game after several fuzzy screens.

11. Writing a Check

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Remember writing checks and balancing your checkbook? Most people in the thread agree that they only write checks when it is time to pay rent. Others don’t even write them with virtual payments like Zelle.

12. Long Division

long division high school
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Ok. We still need long division, but Praise Jesus for calculators. I am 100% OK with having that calculator in my pocket; they all swore we’d never have.

A mother admits that her daughter came home with long-division homework last week, and she realized she had wholly wiped her brain of this information. I don’t know if this is a good thing, but I’m grateful that long division isn’t part of my daily routine. Toss in some common core? Forget about it!

What do you think? Do you still utilize the skills on this list? Have any others to add to this list?

This thread inspired this post.

15 of the Stupidest Things Men Associate Their Masculinity With Today

older man with glasses
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A recent online discussion about what the dumbest thing men associate their masculinity with is, and the answers are interesting. Do you agree with their list?

15 Comedians the Internet Says Were Never Funny To Begin With

Chevy Chase Saturday Night Live
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What comedian was never funny to start with, in your opinion? I’ll go first by stating the obvious, Dane Cook. After someone asked a popular online forum this question, these comedians were called out as unfunny.

20 Shockingly Legal Things That Without a Doubt Need To Become Illegalized

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Do you have a list of things that are legal but absolutely should become illegal, like yesterday? You’ve got company. After someone asked for examples of these bullet points, an online forum delivered this list of responses.

This article was published and syndicated by Sober Healing.

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Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and spirituality.